Q&A with Nico & Vinz

You likely know Nico & Vinz from their inescapable pop smash of 2014, "Am I Wrong?," but if you don't, here's a brief rundown: the Norwegian duo makes incredible pop music with a dash of soul and a ton of heart. The group's blend of melody and positivity is nowhere better embodied than in their music video for "My Melody," which features the group's sky-scraping choruses interspersed with stories from people whose lives are affected by HIV. You can watch it below, and also read our interview with the duo, where we discuss success, the Super Bowl, and their favorite things!

GGM: So the “My Melody” video is an extremely powerful piece of work. What made you want to try and tell this story?

Vinz: We wrote the song in Botswana a while back with an artist called Larsen Berman. He started singing the song and told us what the lyrics were about. He told us about how AIDS affects not only the person infected but everybody around. That song is one of the most powerful songs on the album, and we thought with the message it had and the purpose it was serving, it was important for us to do this video. We had people who actually had HIV/Aids come forth to tell their stories, and say “We have HIV, but we’re still living. It’s not the end of the world.” And also, stay protected, get tested. It was really important to us to have a piece like this, as powerful as our other stuff with a message like this. I’m really proud of it.

GGM: Can you tell me a little about how this video came about? How did you find the stories?

Nico: We had a wonderful production team called Everdream who helped us reach out to people with the disease, and it was really important for us to have real people and not just actors tell their story. We got to sit down with them and talk with them. It was so powerful before we even started shooting. It inspired our performance during the shoot, hearing those stories. We’re really happy to be able to help tell their part of the story.

GGM: You also got to perform in Rochester for the pre-Super Bowl show. How was performing in Rochester in January?

Nico: It was one of the best shows, best experiences we’ve had! We didn’t know what to expect. We’d never been to Rochester. I didn’t know what to expect! But the people there were so warm, so welcoming, so extremely happy we came to their town! It was cold and raining, but it was still such a welcoming environment. The show at night was amazing. I think, like, 6,000 people showed up? The whole street was full, and the show was really amazing.

GGM: You’re touring Black Star Elephant now. Do you have any idea what your post-tour plans will be?

Vinz: Yeah, we’re writing right now, working with new artists. For us, it’s about growing and keeping what we have that works, and also try to experiment a little bit with other artists, writers, and producers. Maybe we’ll reach a place we haven’t been yet but incorporate what we have been doing. You can definitely look forward to new music from us quite soon!

GGM: Favorite pop songs right now?

Nico: At the Grammys, we saw Kanye West perform, and when you think about a performer putting on a great live show, it makes you love the song more. I love Kanye’s "Only One" and "FourFiveSeconds."

GGM: Favorite music you listen to people may not have heard?

Vinz: I just heard a song in the car on the radio by a group called The New Basement Tapes. The song is called “When I Get My Hands On You.” It has that vibe I’m just lovin'.

GGM: Favorite albums you’re jamming?

Nico: I’m lookin through my list on the computer… I would say a UK artist called Jessie Ware. Her two albums I’ve been listening to a lot lately, Devotion and Tough Love.

GGM: Favorite films?

Nico: I just watched City of God and I think that’s amazing. Also, Casino. I just saw that movie for the first time and I thought it was a crazy film. I love that movie with Joaquin Phoenix, Her. There are a lot of good movies out right now I need to see, actually.

GGM: Favorite TV shows?

Vinz: Honestly, I haven’t been watching anything other than ESPN’s Sportscenter and First Take. I used to love The Wire and Breaking Bad, Martin and Fresh Prince.

GGM: Favorite restaurant stateside that blew you away?

Vinz: There’s one I always love to go to called Faces and Names where they have these incredible mini tacos. Whenever we’re in New York, we get seven mini tacos. That’s for sure for dinner later tonight.

GGM: What’s your favorite pair of sneakers to wear when you want to look awesome?

Nico: I’m a big fan of boots, actually. Right now I’m wearing some Kenneth Cole high top boots.

GGM: Since blowing up, what’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you?

Nico: When we played at the White House Christmas Tree ceremony and met the Obamas!


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